Fall is here and the fall sports season is well underway around the Des Moines metro. Unfortunately, along the spectrum from young to professional atheletes, comes the risk of concussion. Each year, nearly 2 million traumatic brain injuries occur, 75% of which are concussions. Approximately 300,000 of those are sports related, in large part, due to football.
But, let’s not blame football for all of them. A spike to the head in volleyball, or perhaps a fall from the monkey bars, injuring the neck and/or head can certainly be responsible for a concussion
Now, concussions in professional sports are always in the news. So, it’s safe to say that if it’s happening in professional sports, it’s happening in your child’s school, too. The good thing about being a pro-athlete, such as an NFL player, is the access to some of the greatest concussion care available. The NFL and other leagues are highly invested in the safety of their players because:
- They want to avoid lawsuits down the road, and
- They want to make sure the athletes have the best care for a safe and quick return to play.
Even in the NFL, though, there is no helmet standard. Regardless, NO helmet is capable of preventing the brain from shifting around within the skull during a collision. It is the movement that can cause damage to the brain and central nervous system, leading to concussion.
Your child may not have immediate access to such great care. If you have a child is sports, or who is injured on the playground, you should be aware of these symptoms associated with concussion:
- Brief loss of consciousness
- Memory problems and confusion
- Double or blurred vision
- Headaches (with or without vomiting)
- Light and noise sensitivity
- Problems with balance
- Slow reaction time
If you know your child took some hard hits during the game, or begins to show any of the above signs as the season wears on, it would be prudent to have him or her evaluated by a qualified professional as soon as possible.
What may surprise you is that head injuries and structural abnormalities of the neck are closely linked. The potential damage to the brain is often the sole focus, and the potential injury to the cervical spine (neck) is often overlooked. Stay tuned for a future blog post that illustrates how concussions can lead to injury and structural issues in the cervical spine.